Fate of Saudi journalist tests U.S.-Saudi relationship

Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert

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A bipartisan group of senators are triggering an investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi - who went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey last week.

Corker spoke with reporters after the letter was released, and he emphasized that senators "specifically said it included the highest members of the regime" and could "absolutely" lead to us sanctions targeting the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on here".

"And we're being very tough and we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey, and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia", he continued.

The worldwide implications of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance deepened after the "Washington Post" reported that USA intelligence was aware the Saudi government was planning to kidnap the journalist.

"To me, this is just one more reason why we should be very suspect about selling arms to the Saudis", Paul, R-Ky., said in a Fox News interview.

Mr. Trump told reporters earlier on Wednesday that his administration has been in contact with the "highest level" of officials in the Saudi government, and had asked about Khashoggi's disappearance.

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on October 10 that he has spoken with Saudi Arabia officials and said he was "concerned" over the reports.

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Meanwhile, Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he has a call in to Mr Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who has appealed to the president and first lady Melania Trump for help.

It is said some of the men went into the Saudi consulate before Mr Khashoggi. "The intelligence reports are very direct, very short and give further credence to the fact that the focus needs to be on Saudi Arabia right now", Corker said.

The Global Magnitsky Act requires a report within 120 days of the letter with a decision on the imposition of sanctions on anyone deemed responsible for a serious rights violation such as torture, prolonged detention without trial or extrajudicial killing of someone exercising freedom of expression.

The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, reported that Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to trap Khashoggi.

Saudi authorities have said the journalist left the building after his visit and rejected Turkish police suggestions he might have been killed there. I texted a few friends to inform them, and I asked about Jamal at the consular building.

A leading Republican senator said Thursday that he believes Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and that "there is no question the Saudis did this". Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar a year ago in a show of support after its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

Angry lawmakers likely won't prompt the administration to turn away from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia, however, has been a major United States ally in the Middle East since WWII, including serving as the launching pad for the 1991 Gulf War and, most recently, as the linchpin of regime change efforts directed against Iran and Syria.

On Trump's first trip overseas as president, he visited Saudi Arabia and announced the massive arms sales package. He said that "there was Saudi involvement" in whatever happened with the journalist, who wrote columns for The Washington Post. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before. The administration's Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for an expected plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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